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The Best Cities to Visit in Scotland during Fall

The Best Cities to Visit in Scotland during Fall

Who doesn’t love autumn in Scotland? From the gorgeous colours and the mouthwatering smell of warm pumpkin pie, there’s something wonderful for everyone during this time of year.

The best cities to visit in Scotland during fall are Stirling and Edinburgh. Not only do they showcase gorgeous fall scenery, but they also boast unique activities for everyone to try.

Learn more here as we explore what these two cities have to offer in autumn!


Located in central Scotland, Stirling is a fantastic city known as the “Gateway to the Highlands”. Blending old-town charm and a relatively young demographic, it offers a great mix of unique activities for all ages and personalities.

Here are a few of our favourite  activities!

Explore the Devil’s Pulpit

Address: South of Loch Lomond, Stirling, UK

If you’re a fan of the hit TV series Outlander, this might be a familiar sight!

Legend has it that the Devil’s Pulpit, the mushroom-shaped rock poking above the crimson-like coloured stream, is the exact place where the fiend used to talk and meet with his followers.

But really, its name was based on how this rock formation looks like a church pulpit. However, with its red-coloured water, some see it as more satanic rather than saintly. Eerie, yes?

Visiting this place during autumn perfectly matches the mood because this famous gorge has a stream with a reddish hue, mirroring the rich colours of fall leaves – and yes, for those with a love of horror, blood. Yikes!

But believe it or not, it’s simply a reflection of the sandstone under it, and not the actual water itself.

Pro tip:

Wear proper footwear since the steps going down the gorge – called Devil’s Steps or Jacob’s Ladder – are often wet and can make you quickly lose your balance if you’re not careful.

Pick pumpkins in Arnprior Farm


Facebook: Arnprior Farm Pumpkins

Address: Arnprior Farm, Stirling, FK8 3HA, UK

Contact details: +44 7902 180564

Operating hours: 9 AM – 6 PM daily

Price: £6.50 per car

Arnprior Farm is one of the best places to go pumpkin picking because it plays host to Scotland’s original Pumpkin Festival. You can never go wrong with the OG!

Your little ones will have a lovely time checking out over 15,000 different pumpkins on the farm and finding the right one that suits their preferences. They also offer several exciting activities like cooking with pumpkin-themed crafts, face painting and more.

Pro tip:

Although pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, the best and freshest ones are those with dark green stems that are solid to the touch. 

Attend the Bloody Scotland Book Festival


Facebook: Bloody Scotland

Contact details: [email protected]


  • Individual ticket – £5
  • Digital pass (*access to over 40 events) – £40

What’s autumn without a little chill in our spines? Thankfully, the Bloody Scotland Book Festival in Stirling, the only festival dedicated to crime writing in the country offers just that.

Held over a weekend in September yearly, the event brings together popular crime fiction authors. These include Val McDermid (who wrote ‘The Wire in the Blood’ series), David Baldacci (who wrote ‘Absolute Power’), and Irvine Welsh (who wrote ‘Crime’).

Pro tip:

For book recommendations, Bloody Scotland has a book club that showcases different novels every season including autumn and spring through their Facebook Page. 

BONUS: Places to Visit Near Stirling

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Estimated Travel Time from Stirling: 39 minutes


Facebook: Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Address: Balloch, Alexandria, G83 8QX, UK

Contact details: +44 1389 722 600

Operating hours: Always open

Price: Free

Just a quick drive from Stirling and you’ll reach Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, which offers breathtaking sceneries of various hills and majestic lochs. 

Covering 1,865 square kilometres, this was the first place in Scotland that earned National Park status in 2002.

It houses the 20,000-hectare Queen Elizabeth Forest, where trees turn into a reddish to orange-y hue during autumn. Whether it’s walking around the area, hiking or camping, you can do several activities during your visit.

Pro tip:

You can drop by two quaint villages as you explore the park namely Luss and Killin. 

Luss has unique box-like cottages, several pubs and local restaurants in the area. You can hop on a cruise to explore the village by the water.

Meanwhile, Killin is a small village with less than 700 residents. It’s famous for its marvellous misty waters, the Falls of Dochart.

Galloway Forest Park

Galloway Forest Park
Image from

Estimated Travel Time from Stirling: 1 hour and 37 minutes


Address: Galloway Forest, Creebridge, Newton Stewart, DG8 6AJ, UK

Contact details: +44 300 067 6800

Operating hours: Always open

Price: Free

Galloway Forest Park is one of the best places to stargaze while you camp out for the night.

It’s the largest forest in the United Kingdom, spanning over 97,000 hectares. Plus, it was recognised by the International Dark Sky Association as a Dark Sky Park in 2009, making it the first one in the UK.

Apart from enjoying a starry sky, you can also get a chance to see red deer around the area during your visit. 

Pro tip:

Be mindful of all the signs in your surroundings, especially for feeding different animals in the park. It’s not allowed to feed certain animals, so it’s best to make sure before proceeding.


Famously known as the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh boasts a great mix of historical spots and contemporary buildings. It’s a lovely place to visit in autumn with its rusty orange trees, quiet surroundings and cool weather.

Here are our top activities to do in the city in autumn!

Enjoy some great theatre at the Playhouse


Facebook: Edinburgh Playhouse

Address: 18-22 Greenside PI, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA, UK

Contact details: 0844 871 3014

Autumn is when theatre season in Edinburgh goes in full swing, making it the city to visit for outstanding live performances.

Hailed as the largest theatre in the UK, The Playhouse in Edinburgh has a seating capacity of 3,059 people over three levels. Some of the biggest productions that have been staged here include The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Les Miserables.

Pro tip:
Since seats can feel a wee cramped during a jam-packed show, we recommend picking aisle seats if you want more space to stretch your legs. 

But if you want to get a closer look at the stage, the seats around row G are the best to avoid neck strain. 

Refrain from choosing the second to third rows because the ones in the first row might lean forward, blocking your view of the stage.

Participate in the Samhain Fire Festival


Facebook: Beltane Fire Society

Address: Calton Hill, Edinburgh, UK

Price: Adult – £5 

Samhain – aka Samhuinn – Fire Festival is an annual Halloween celebration in Edinburgh that started around 2,500 years ago. It’s a modern retelling of an ancient pagan tradition, which occurs between the autumn equinox and winter solstice.

It starts around dusk on October 31 and lasts for three days. The parade showcases different performances like fire dancing and wild drumming with performers in vibrant costumes.

Pro tip:

If you want a more immersive experience of this festival, sign up to be a volunteer performer where you’ll get a chance to learn more about the story of the Summer and Winter Kings.

Try leaf peeping at the Royal Botanic Garden


Facebook: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Address: Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ, UK

Contact details: +44 131 248 2909

Operating hours: 10 AM – 6 PM daily


  • Garden – Free
  • Glasshouses – £5 per adult

Leaf peeping is one of the best leisure activities to do during autumn as you watch and take photos of the new hues of fall foliage.

And where better else to do this than the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh? It’s home to a large and rich plant collection with over 13,000 species that’s been around for the last 350 years.

In fact, it’s the second oldest botanic garden in the entire UK where you can wander around the entire 70 acres of beautiful land with majestic glasshouses. 

Pro tip:

The giant lily pond is a great spot to settle down with a book and a drink!

Visit Edinburgh Castle


Facebook: Edinburgh Castle

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG, UK

Contact details: +44 131 225 9846

Operating hours: 9:30 AM – 6 PM daily



  • Adult (16 – 64 years old) – £19.50 
  • Concession (65 years old and above) – £15.50
  • Child (7 – 15 years old) – £11.40
  • Family (1 adult, 2 children) – £38.50
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children) – £56
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children) – 66.50


  • Adult (16 – 64 years old) – £22 
  • Concession (65 years old and above) – £17.60
  • Child (7 – 15 years old) – £13.20
  • Family (1 adult, 2 children) – £43.50
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children) – £63.50
  • Family (2 adults, 3 children) – £75

When you’re in Edinburgh, it’s a no-brainer to visit Edinburgh Castle, one of the continent’s oldest fortified landmarks. But dropping by in autumn offers a different feel as you get a great view of the red and orange-coloured trees surrounding the castle.

It’s an experience that’s straight out of a fairytale that’s perfect for your next IG snap.

Pro tip:

The Vennel is one of the best spots to get a good view of the castle with the autumn foliage.

However, it’s easy to miss when you’re in the area because it’s hidden in plain sight.

It’s a flight of stairs found between an ice cream shop and a jewellery store. Climb 50 steps up for the best view!

Attend the Scottish International Storytelling Festival


Facebook: Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Address: 43-45 High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, UK

Contact details: +44 131 556 9579


  • Adult – ranging from £5 to £10 per ticket, depending on the event

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is one of the highlights of visiting Edinburgh in autumn as it’s the world’s biggest celebration of storytelling.

Held every October in the capital city, the event showcases excellent local and international storytellers, dances and live music.

In 2023, the festival marks its 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Expect discussions about gender inequality, religious prejudices and more.

Pro tip:

If you have any interesting insights that you’d like to share, you can submit a storytelling proposal through the festival’s official Facebook Page. 

They accept submissions every year, a few months before the October festival, with different themes each time.

BONUS: Places to Visit Near Edinburgh

Almond Valley Heritage Centre

Almond Valley Heritage Centre
Image from

Estimated Travel Time from Edinburgh: 33 minutes


Facebook: Almond Valley Heritage Centre

Address: 37 Millfield, Livingston, EH54 7AR, UK

Contact details: +44 1506 414 957 

Operating hours: 10 AM – 5 PM daily


  • Adult – £11
  • Senior – £10
  • Children (aged 2 – 15) – £9

For a little spook to your autumn adventure in Scotland, drop by Almond Valley Heritage Centre and visit their Secrets of the Witches Wood trail. 

It’s an event held in October to celebrate Halloween to remember the Calder Witches. These were women who were hunted and put to death in the past, as they were said to practise witchcraft which was taboo during the Great Age. 

As you walk through the winding footpaths, you’ll reach the lost lands of these witches with strange sights and odd smells that’ll give you the goosebumps!

Pro tip:

Once you enter the park, there are certain extra fees for specific activities like riding the train and toasting a marshmallow which cost around £1-£2 per person.

Cairngorms National Park

Estimated Travel Time from Stirling: 1 hour and 26 minutes


Facebook: Cairngorms National Park

Address: 14 The Square, Grantown on Spey, PH26 3HG, UK

Contact details: +44 1479 873 535

Operating hours: Always open

Price: Free 

The Cairngorms National Park spans 4,528 square kilometres, making it the biggest national park in the UK. When you visit this in autumn, you can expect to see vibrant red and orange-coloured trees in the area.

In fact, many photographers say that they love visiting the park during this season because of the golden glow of the surroundings and the great lighting.

Pro tip:

Apart from taking photos, be on the lookout for red deer who are in their stag rut during this time. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s an activity when a stag fights other males to win over the females.

We highly recommend hiring a wildlife expert to guide you so you’ll not only be safe but also learn more about the deer.

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